Romans 14:13-23

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If you turn with me in your Bible to two Romans, chapter 14, that’s where we’re going to be at together today. And I want you to know, I didn’t prepare a mother’s Day message. All right? I can tell you this. This can relate to mothers because we’re talking about being a help rather than than a hindrance. And I think as a mom, sometimes you might figure out how in the family dynamic, how to pick your battles in order to help your children and your family to succeed. So I think this will be very much practical, but I promise we’re going to end with the mother’s illustration. All right. So we’re going to we’re going to tie it all in, in a beautiful way today. But Romans chapter 14, if you remember where we are in the story of Romans, the first 11 chapters of Romans deals with your relationship to the Lord, Right? What Christ has done for you. It’s really not about what you’ve done, because the only thing you do for your salvation is all the sinning. Christ does everything else right, which is not a good contribution that you’re making to this. But but Jesus does everything else. Jesus comes and He redeems us and His life is sufficient for us and everything He’s done, He gives us a new identity. And in that new identity, we find new purpose, new value worth, and what our life is called for in Christ.

And then in Romans chapter 12, it’s the practical outworking of that. And what we discover is our love for God is demonstrated in the way that we care for others. And so when we want to live out our faith, it’s very much a relational experience where first, our our vertical relationship with God then impacts our horizontal relationship with others. I think it almost said horrible relationship with others, but horizontal is what I mean, horizontal relationship with others. And Paul’s bringing this to the to a place now that sometimes we we recognize we come from from different walks of life, different places and where we’ve been different cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, educational levels. It’s just it can vary. And so when we come into the body of Christ, we’re different. And God created this diversity for a reason. I think it’s honoring to the Lord. But also at the same time there is a unity that God desires for us to experience in that diversity. And to what degree do we hold to to the the tenets of our faith and what really for us becomes tertiary issues like how do we find common ground to move forward in? And this is what Paul’s discussing in Romans chapter 14 and Romans chapter 15. And today he’s talking about how we can be a help, not a hindrance, on our journey together. Certainly God wants to journey with you in a personal way.

Jesus came for a very personal reason in your life. But God doesn’t just leave it there that he also calls us into community. And so this this Christian life that we’re on, you’re on a journey and your walk with the Lord that should impact the world around you. But it’s it’s not an individualistic journey that he calls us to do this as a community. In fact, in in Romans 14, you’re going to see this idea of not putting any hindrances before one another on this journey. In Hebrews Chapter 12, he tells us to run with endurance, the race that’s before us and Galatians Chapter five. He talks about walking in the spirit. So. So this idea of the Christian life being a journey that we’re on as God’s community together is a is an important idea to Scripture. And in Romans 14 and verse 13, Paul starts off this section of Scripture by really giving us this this key idea of what he’s going to focus on within these these next few verses to end this chapter. And the way that we know that is he comes to this word therefore. And you know, if you read scripture, you’ve always got to ask, what therefore is there for when you’re when you’re interpreting the Bible? But he gives this summary idea of of what his his thought is towards God’s community as we move forward, recognizing that we’re a collective group of people coming from different walks of life.

He says this therefore, let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or a hindrance in the way of a brother. This this word for stumbling block. He he uses it in verse 13, verse 20, verse 21. And again it’s this idea of we’re we’re on this path together and we don’t want to create any hindrances or encumbrances to prevent someone from enjoying the journey as God’s community. And he goes on and describes in verse 20 and 21, he talks about the idea of of destroying the work that God is doing among his people, that God’s doing a beautiful thing and He doesn’t want us to come in and, and tear it down, but rather build up what God desires to do. The same picture that you might have for for being a mother within the context of your home. How can I leverage where I am in life to help my family become what God has called them to be? Both physical family, spiritual family? I think God’s desire for us, as as Jesus has given himself completely for us to fill our lives in Him. So he now calls us to mimic that in the world that we now being filled in Christ, have something to give in to this world to help others become who who God has called them to be.

Now, there is a degree to this passage that is not healthy. And what I mean is it is not your responsibility to. Force other people down a path, right? What people choose to do with their lives. Is there going to be accountable for it? You’re not accountable for what someone else chooses to do. However, we can provide the opportunity to invite them on that journey and allow that path to to be removed of hindrances or encumbrances. And what I mean is when Paul’s talking about this journey, he’s very much discussing it in a in a relational way. He’s using a picture of of clearing a path, not expecting that you physically go out and clear someone’s path. But what he’s saying is the way that we interact with someone in in the community of God’s people is what really provides that platform to to enjoy that journey together. So so the responsibility for us as God’s people is not to force someone on this path and not to not to feel guilt. If someone chooses to, to walk away from the Lord or or to walk contrary to what God calls us to to do, I think we can always encourage people that when they air in their relationship with God or head down a bad path. But what God is calling us here in this this passage is is to simply open up the opportunity for people to to to know Christ better and to walk with him more deeply in in his community.

And he uses this word judgment. Right. Therefore, let us not pass judgment. And I think it’s important just to remind us in terms of judgment what we’re discussing here, because in our culture today, we like to take this word judgment and say things the Lord does not mean with judgment. A lot of times people like to say, thou shalt not judge. Thou shall not judge as if to say, You can’t look at what I’m doing and call it wrong. Right. And I want you to know that’s not biblical. It’s it’s it’s completely okay to judge right from wrong. Right. As God’s people, we you certainly should discern. I think a better way of saying that is discernment. There are things in your life that are healthy. There are things in your life that are not healthy and you should be able to discern what is right, what is good, what is wholesome, what is healthy, and to to walk down that path and what is not. So in terms of judgment, Scripture does not refer to it that judgment in that way. He’s not saying, look, never judge at all. That would be ignorant, right? I mean, you think you’ve got to make good choices with your life because you care about life and life is sacred. And you should encourage other people when they’re making choices that’s going to destroy their lives to to talk about those things.

But but what he does mean in terms of judgment is to look down on someone else as if their their value is depreciated. And and what what this reminder is for us is that everyone is made in the image of God. Just because someone makes poor choices or or just because they might choose to do something a little different than you. Doesn’t make them less than you. In fact, in Romans chapter 14 and verse one, the way that Paul referred to this discussion, he said he encouraged us to stay strong in the faith in Romans 14 one. But he said in matter of opinions and matter of opinions, which these are tertiary issues, these these might be cultural distinctions of which how one people group lived versus another. And we’ll we’ll talk a little bit more about that in the the Jew and Gentile dynamic among the the Roman Christians there was there was some some things unique to the Jewish culture that the Jews would have done that may not have been unique to the Gentile culture. And yet they’re called to be one in the body of Christ and to live out this mission for which God has called his people to do collectively in him. And so culturally, there are these distinctions, matters of opinion, but they are not issues to divide the body of Christ over because God wants us to, to walk together in him.

So in terms of of judgment, discernment is important, but never to the degree of looking down on someone else and trying to force everyone to live exactly as you live in matters of opinion. So Paul today wants to give us a few key thoughts. And we’re going to we’re going to remind ourselves of these answers he’s going to give in the term of a key question. The key question is this How do we help people on their journey with Jesus rather than hinder them? And Paul, in these passages, he’s going to give us four points. And I want to look at verse 14 is where this first point comes from. But this is what the apostle Paul says. He says, I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. What Paul is saying here is this number one in your notes is be confident in the Lord. And you see this. You see this in Paul’s statement here, Right. If you want to live for God’s glory, to the benefit of others in this world, number one, what you need is to be confident in the Lord. And Paul is outlining this one in his persuasion in the Lord, and then how that has brought him to a place where he recognizes there is nothing unclean in itself. His heart is established, persuaded, confident in Christ, in the faith that he holds to, and therefore, in that confidence, he recognizes that nothing in this world is unclean in and of itself.

And we’ll talk a little bit more about that in just a minute. But people that are not confident, they want to hold to a position, but they’re not confident. They tend to be defensive, sometimes aggressive, and they like to to make things personal in order to to to grab hold of those those those things they may not feel very confident in. But but people who who are confident they may be passionate. In fact, because you’re so confident in a conviction that you may carry, you should be passionate depending on the degree of importance of the thing that you’re standing on. But but at the end of the day, their confidence is not determined on what people do or don’t do. If you reject what they say or what they’re doing, being confident in their position will not determine how they choose to live because they’re resting in something different than your opinion of what they are or what they’re saying. They’ve established themselves on something greater. And so they’re not deterred, deterred by what other people do. They have a a deeper conviction. And so Paul says it like this, that in in shaping our identity in Christ, having these deep convictions. I love what Paul does in these passages. He talks about he’s going to talk about food and drink as a way that the the body of Christ is being divided right now in Rome and he’s encouraging them to walk in unity.

Don’t separate over over what you think about food. That’s a silly issue to separate over but but he’s he’s acknowledging here that some people may call certain foods unclean and he’s acknowledging here. Well that’s not entirely right. There’s nothing in itself unclean. So Paul is certainly making a stand. He is confident in that. He repeats this very phrase again in verse 20. But while he’s confident in that, he’s also recognizing different people are coming from different places and they’re they’re needing to shape their conviction in the Lord as well. And so be sensitive to their conscience. As they as they want to align their hearts with with Christ, because nothing in itself is unclean. And what Paul is encouraging us to think through is. How do. How can we redeem things in this culture? Just because someone takes something and uses it for evil purposes doesn’t make the thing itself bad. It just makes what people do with it as as bad. And because someone may use it for the wrong reasons doesn’t mean you cast it aside and can never use it again. In fact, made by God, it means all things are made good. Just because people use things for good and bad reasons, it doesn’t make the objects itself moral. It’s what you do with it.

Therefore, as God’s people, anything in this world that God has created, God has made for good, and you have the opportunity to redeem it for his purposes. Now, there are certain things in your culture that I will say, like as you think about how to show the story of redemption and the way you live your life, there are certain things in culture that you just can’t redeem. There are certain things that you just we need to push aside. Like I could get extreme in some of those thoughts, but like things like pornography, like, that’s not you don’t redeem that, right? Like people that are trapped in that industry, you certainly want their hearts transformed in the Lord, right? People that might be addicted to things like that. We care about them because Jesus’s life was given for our sins. So. So we care about the people. But but the thing in itself, not redeemable when you think about, I don’t know, things like drugs, crack cocaine, not redeemable. Right. Certain, certain. I would say certain things being taught now in school and in sexual education as young as it’s getting ridiculous right. Things like that not redeemable that’s there needs to be lines drawn and understanding the age of children and how how we bring them about and your responsibility as parents to do most of that education and nurturing the hearts of your children and not just handing it over to someone else.

There’s certain things in this world that we just we we understand that that the use of is just downright evil. But then there are other things. That while it may have been used for the wrong purposes, are completely redeemable. And how do I know that? Because this morning you’re worshipping in a bar. You worship in a bar. If anyone should understand this passage more than anyone else, it’s. It’s us, right? I mean, it’s the story of redemption, of what God has done. And, you know, some people may think about that and look at that and say, well, what’s the big deal? Who cares? But but I even know in our in our own history, when we were first looking at this building, we had members of our church, just a couple people that came to me and they they said, we can’t worship there. And why? Why can we not worship there? It’s an empty building. We need a building. And and the answer is, well, because it was a bar, because it was a bar. And, you know, things that happen in a bar, we can’t worship there. And and, you know, I found it a little bit interesting, but we still pursued the building. And as I started to talk to this individual, I found that the hesitation wasn’t so much that it was that it was necessarily a bar. But but rather it was a bar they had been in frequently.

And they remembered the consequences of the path that it took them on. And walking back in that building was something that they wanted to avoid. But being able in that moment to take that story and say. It may not have been a good a good beginning here. But God is going to redeem it for an incredible ending. It’s a beautiful picture of the way God transforms our life. It’s what the story of redemption is all about. Jesus doesn’t wait for us to fix ourselves before he welcomes us in. He meets us right where we are. And in the ugliest parts of our life. In order to transform us in him, he forgives us. In that darkness. And Paul is encouraging us in this passage to be confident in the Lord. I to understand that story of redemption is is the way that God wants to to move in this world and and in recognizing that the way that we can empathize and sympathize with other people. Having gone through difficult things. Sometimes when when we make bad choices in life, it’s it’s hard for us sometimes to figure out how to to move forward. And there’s things that we experience that we may be free in Jesus to enjoy as a body of believers, but because of our past, we just can’t go there. Or sometimes maybe it’s not something that you’ve done, but something that someone’s done to you and you just feel shamed by it.

And you may be free in Christ, but whatever. There may be something that in your freedom in Jesus, even though there may be freedom in Jesus, you just can’t you can’t go there and experience it because of of the heartache that that that something represents to you. And so as a body of Christ, we want to empathize and with one another and sympathize with our our struggles as we go on this journey together, even as a church, understanding the story of redemption, like as a church, we’ve gone into Uganda and we’ve we’ve purchased a couple properties that we’re still finishing paying on. But but we, we’ve got a couple properties that they were used for awful purposes. And we purchased it to give it to a ministry, to use it as a story of redemption, to bless the people there. It’s beautiful the way that God does that the things He created in this world. It doesn’t mean that we have to treat it all as taboo, but to but to think wisely in our mind how we can use it for the benefit of God. God’s excuse me, the benefit of others and the glory of God. Point number two in your notes is this. Then consider your motivation. Consider your motivation and your freedom in Christ living together as a body of believers. Consider your motivation the way that you interact with God’s community.

He goes on and says, But it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love by what you eat. Do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. And so you see this this idea of this word being used as destruction again. But he’s carrying this idea of Christians. If you carry the heart of Jesus, that the heart of Jesus is being mindful of where others are coming from and and helping them become what God has called them to be. I’ve seen Christians live their lives so selfishly that it creates heartache for other believers that that it endures in their life for years because their focus was just simply on them. But God’s desire for us is is to walk in love and understanding of how I can help one another become who God’s called them to be. And it doesn’t mean you need to live your Christian life on eggshells. You want to stand in your convictions. But but it does encourage us to be considerate in in how we stand in those convictions. You know, even the apostle Paul and giving these statements that he’s talking about in this passage, that there’s nothing unclean. Right. The apostle Paul to make that kind of statement. There’s an understanding of how God has even had to shape his own heart because Paul came from a Jewish background.

And to the Jews, they had all sorts of laws in which they were to follow regarding what was clean and what was unclean. And Paul is finding his own freedom in the Lord, and he’s becoming an encouragement to others that are coming from that that walk of life to consider how how God transforms and redeems things. Even in this section of scripture and dealing with with Jews and Gentiles, you know, we talked about in Romans 14 theologians aren’t entirely sure exactly the people group and the situation that’s being addressed in the Book of Romans. All you can do really, is simply speculate, knowing a little bit about first century church, that there were Gentiles who they worshiped, false gods, and they dedicated things to those false gods, including meat and drinks. They they would go to these altars and and lay down that meat. And then and then that meat would be often taken to the meat market and sold at a cheaper price. And so as a Christian, you may not even care, you know, that that God is not that false. God is not real, but you can get the meat really cheap. And so not thinking about it, you can just buy the meat and eat cheap meat because you’ve got a big family. And well, the bills are bills are piling up. But to walk in the home of a of a gentile who just became a Christian who may have worshiped that false God.

Something to consider how they might receive it or to the Jews who had who had certain dietary restrictions, though they’re now free in Christ. The way that Gentiles may have prepared the meat they may not have found still appetizing. And what they’ve where they’ve come from in life. And so they don’t want to partake just because it might violate their their conscience. And they may even go so far as to say, I know Jesus is enough. But culturally I’ve been raised this way. And so because it’s been so much a part of my life, I just don’t feel ready or feel the freedom to partake of this yet. In fact, to watch other people indulge, it affects me in a way that it it hinders how I view people and my relationship with the Lord. And so Paul is talking to believers and saying, Look, in Christ, you’re free. You have liberties. But be mindful of how you use those liberties for the sake of people around you. And if knowing I just used the illustration of a bar, let me let me just bring up one for fun. How about alcohol? Is a is a Christian free or should I say, is it wrong to drink alcohol? You answer this personally and not out loud. Just hold on to it for just a minute. But is it wrong to to drink alcohol if you just make a dogmatic statement, it is wrong to drink alcohol.

Right. You’ve got a problem with like, say, I don’t know, John. Chapter two Jesus turning water into wine or or First Timothy Chapter five, verse 23, where Paul literally says to Timothy, Drink wine. It’ll help your stomach. Right? When Welch’s didn’t take the fermentation out of grape juice until the 1800s. So so for for all the centuries before this, anytime people are drinking some wine, there’s some fermentation or some grape juice, there’s some fermentation involved. Jesus in the upper room with his disciples. The night in which he was betrayed, he took bread and broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you. And this is the drink, right? It would have been wine. So. So look at the Bible and say, the Bible says you can’t drink alcohol. Completely wrong. But in Ephesians chapter five, verse 18, it does say. Don’t be drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit. And it carries this idea, this idea of debauchery is spilling your life out and just wasting it, that God has made you for a reason. And rather than dedicate your life to him, your heart to Him, you’ve dedicated your life to a substance and you’re just spilling it out. It’s being wasted. And rather be filled with the spirit is an encouragement to to let your life be controlled by what the Lord desires.

Now, now, in that then there are freedoms as a believer, to think through what what you’re doing and how you’re living your life. And I’m going to say as a as a as a pastor, I’ve come to realize, like I have yet to meet a family that has said to me, you know, our our family is so much better off because of alcohol. It has been it has been such a blessing to our world. What a gift this is. Right? Like you don’t instead, you meet people in opposite scenarios where the substance has created destruction. And and not knowing where people come from and what they’ve gone through. My family. We choose not to drink. We care about other people. And that’s not to say because you drink, you don’t care about other people, but it’s to say there is wisdom in how you choose to walk in this world. Alcohol is not the only thing. But but it is something it becomes a platform to consider how you demonstrate your love towards others. If it’s a weakness for other people. How you partake of things in this world could be determined by the people that you interact with because you care more about what Jesus wants to do in them than your personal freedoms. I mean, it’s like for you, if I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this, but if you were to live somewhere in the world where you might be a minority as a Protestant or evangelical or whatever, you label yourself Christian in the way that you you, you follow after Jesus.

If you’re a minority as a Christian and you care about the people around you and you think through how others are perceiving you, not not because you’re worried about their opinion of you. But rather you’re concerned about their walk with Jesus. And you don’t want to put any hindrances before them in representing Christ, but to create a path for them to know Christ and and to walk with him. Being conscious about their need means surrendering your freedoms for their benefit so that they can see the Jesus Jesus modeled within you. And so Paul encourages us in that and consider your motivation. What’s driving you? Is it selfish or or selfless and, and how are you living that out even within the cultural context of just the United States? Like in churches, people typically they come from two backgrounds. Either this system of of legalism where they feel like they’ve got to perform under these certain standards in order to make God happy, or people come from this place of liberalism where they think, you know, as long as you believe something, right? That’s all that matters, as long as you just trust in something. Because the the sensor in the universe is all about you and God just exists to to make you happy.

And what is it that you desire and what is your truth? I mean, people come from one of those two positions, the place of legalism or a place of liberalism. And and the problem with both of those is that the focus of both of those systems is on self. It’s all about you. What you do or don’t do or what’s most important to you because you think you is what matters most of all. But what we want people to see. Is rather than focus on you, is to look at Jesus. In fact, I would say one of the biggest problems within our culture is we think too much of ourselves. And not enough of him. Worship is what transforms the heart. And to provide people the opportunity to connect to the Lord. And so point number three then, is this Consider the kingdom you represent. Consider the kingdom you represent. And he goes on in verse 16, He says, So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. So he’s saying in this passage, look, don’t don’t let people regard as good what God made as good be spoken of as evil, represent the kingdom. Well, that’s what he goes on to say in verse 14 or excuse me, verse 17, you want to represent this, this well.

And then he goes on to show us really where this confidence comes from in us. Sometimes we get materialistic in the way that we focus on what people are doing or don’t doing without any concern for where their heart is. And that’s what he’s saying in this passage, is like you’re looking at the outward of drinking and eating, but what God is interested in is what he wants to do in your heart. And if you want to be confident in where you are in the Lord, this idea of what the kingdom represents becomes that place. And He gives us these these words of of righteousness and peace and joy. You want to know how you can walk confident in this world, regardless of what people do or don’t do. It’s to rest in those thoughts about the kingdom, to to know how you find yourself aligned with Jesus in this world, this righteousness and this peace and this joy. This idea of righteousness is that God has come into your life and He’s forgiven you of your sin and He’s made your your relationship to him righteous in Christ. You’ve been justified. Therefore you’re connected to God. And because you’re connected to the Lord, you have peace with him, peace in your relationship, to enjoy that journey together. And because of that, because you are connected to Creator God who has made you righteous and brought you peace.

There is ultimate joy in all of that because you know, whatever happens to you in this world that your future is secure in Christ, no matter how adverse it may seem, no matter how difficult relationships may look, no matter what the challenges are in front of you in Jesus, it endures forever. So no matter what circumstance you’re going through right now, you know that you are secure in Christ. So that when you interact in this world because you represent His kingdom and not simply systems of this world that are fading away, you’re you’re confident in secure in Christ. You can move forward. You don’t have to have the validation of others, but rather you have what you need in Jesus. One of the things that gives me I think the the greatest hope is I think about this idea of Christ’s kingdom and what God has done in us and this righteousness and peace and joy that he brings to us. I realize within the body of Christ we are diverse, right? But as long as we have a godly posture. The Lord can work out the details. And what I mean is the way that Romans 12 starts us on this journey. If our hearts are humble before the Lord. And we’re willing to say, Lord, you know, I’m coming to you with baggage, and I know what some of the baggage is, and I’m not even aware of all the baggage that I might have, but I’m coming to you with some.

And and God in that, though. I’m laying all of myself down before you. Your Lord, not me. You’re a king, not me. And God. So whatever it is that you desire for my life. God. Show me. Teach me. Direct me in your way. As long as you have that heart of humility with a willingness to surrender. God, whatever I’m holding on to, whatever idol I carry, whatever I’m cherishing that you don’t intend for me to cherish whatever I put before you. God, I want the light to shine on that. So my relationship with you can be something I delight in all of my days. As long as you carry that posture, that place of humility in God’s people, God, God can work out the details. God, whatever it is that you say in your word, I’m willing to follow. Teach me that that position gives us this place of of rest and encouragement that no matter the diversity in the body of Christ, there is still unity, not uniformity. We’re not looking for uniformity, but unity in walking with him. And so, Paul, then in light of that, he gives us some more verses just to spur us on. He says, he says, verse 18, Whoever thus serves Christ is accepted to God and approved by men, meaning your life surrendered to him.

It becomes a blessing to others as well. In verse 19. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. God is honored by by one. He’s saying in this verse who shows love towards him, a surrender towards him and cares for others. That’s God’s desire for us in this world as Jesus fills us up by giving His life for us. So so we would do the same. And then he goes on in verse 20, he says this. He goes, Do not for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean. So here’s Paul once again taking a stand. He knows not everyone is ready to receive this statement, but he he also knows what’s true. And so he’s staying true to that. But he’s also being kind to to others, knowing they’re coming from a different place in life. Do not for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean. But it is wrong for anyone to take to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. You know, I thought about we don’t necessarily if we had maybe a larger Jewish community where we live, this might be a little bit more of a of an issue. Or if we had meat sacrificed to idols and temples today in the area we live, this might be more of an issue related to 21st century America.

Trying to figure out how this relates. The only thing I could think of is some of my brothers and sisters in Christ who may not choose to say eat meat. Like I would look at them and say, Man, you have a stronger walk in Jesus than I do. Because one of the ways that I say you can very plainly prove that God is real is carne asada. All right? Like tacos. You can’t you can’t beat that. There is not a person on earth, I don’t think that’s ever been into a carne asada and thought, man, God is so good. Right? Like that’s the that should be the immediate thought within your mind. So for someone to not partake of that and still have faith in Jesus, you’re stronger than me in Christ. That’s about the only way I can make immediate application. But but again, you see this concern for where people are and trying to meet him in that need and love them. And so point number four then, is this. Do not compromise your conviction. Do not compromise your conviction. That’s true. I think in both cases here that Paul is talking about. Paul has certainly laid out. There is nothing that is unclean, that is a biblical conviction that he’s shaped in the Lord. I think it’s more in line with what Scripture teaches.

But then but then there are some within the body who have come in and maybe for cultural reasons, they just they’re not ready to eat. Just anything that someone throws on a plate in front of them. And Paul is encouraging both of them. To to walk in that. And if you’re not sure about it. Let the Lord shape that conviction in you. That’s one of the things that we love and appreciate doing as a church here. Just because I say something. I don’t want you to believe simply because I tell you something that’s shaping your conviction on someone else. Rather, my my encouragement and hope for you is that you shape your own conviction in the Lord. That your walk with Jesus becomes personal. And one of the ways that we encourage you to do that as a church is to say this. Look, there’s no question that’s off the table. If you’re hungry, you have questions. That’s how you learn and how you grow. We’re not going to tell you to put it on the shelf and forget about it. We’re going to tell you, ask and let’s learn and grow and let God shape that conviction in you for where you stand in Jesus. And so Paul goes on and he says this in verse 22, He says that that the faith that you have keep between yourself and God blesses the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.

But whoever has doubts is condemned. If he eats because the eating is not from faith, for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. So he’s saying, look, their conscience feels a certain way about this. And because their conscience, your conscience may feel a certain way about certain things don’t violate your conscience. But rather he goes on and talks about because it’s not from faith. There’s a place there. If you’re seeing other Christians exercise freedom in something that you may not think is right, maybe those Christians aren’t right, but maybe there’s a place to examine your your conviction to let God shape that. But before that’s being shaped, don’t sear your conscience. Think through your own personal convictions and do not compromise. The theme of Romans 14 is to remind us you’re calling life. Is one that models Jesus in that you your acts are selfless for the benefit of another. Because you follow a Jesus who selflessly gave his life for you and you want to connect to him. And one of the best ways to connect your walk with God is seen in how you honor God through the way that you treat others, because God made people in his image and Jesus gave his life for others. Perhaps today, if you if you think where you might see such selfless living, perhaps one of the best places for us to reflect on is the heart of a mother.

One who lays down her life for the service of her family. Abraham Lincoln said it like this. He said, No, no man is poor who has had a godly mother. It reminds me of a story of this guy. And I’ll close with this David Lloyd George. He he was Winston Churchill before Winston Churchill. David Lloyd George was was a Welshman. He was born during the Civil War. He became the the Prime Minister of the UK during World War One. And he died during World War Two. I mean, this guy, he lived through it. Right. But but leading the UK during World War One, he is known as the Welshman that won World War One in the way that he operated in the UK during during that battle. And what’s interesting about David Lloyd George, he wasn’t a perfect leader. So I’m not trying to say this guy is the second coming of Jesus or anything like that. If you study, if you look at his life, he made some political mistakes, too. But but his leadership was praised to a degree like Winston Churchill during World War One. And what’s interesting about his life is that his life almost never was. The story of his life is when he was just a baby. His mother was going on a walk to another home during the winter, and she was walking over the hills of Wales and she never arrived to the destination.

She got caught in a blizzard and after the blizzard had subsided, they went out into the cold and they put a search party on for David’s mother. And they eventually found her. And as they uncovered her body under the snow, they found out that just before she had passed away, she took off all of her outer garments and she wrapped her baby and she hovered over her baby to keep her baby warm. And she gave the ultimate sacrifice so her child could live. And as they pulled her body out and they opened up what she was holding on to, they began to realize as they took those layers of clothing off that David George was inside. It was the sacrifice of a mother that made a difference. Guys, when I when I think about what it took for you to be here today. It. All of our stories happen because of sacrifice. It happened because of Jesus’s loving sacrifice for you. And if you think about it, you know, within your story to get here, you’ve encountered others along the way who took interest in you. Who showed a loving devotion towards you to share the truth of Christ in your life. That you could know him to. The way God’s people move forward. It’s not selfish. But it’s selfless. And in that selflessness, the world has the opportunity to hear and see the goodness of Jesus. We remove the hindrances to provide the place that we may journey with him together.

Romans 14:1-12

Romans 15:1-13